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Dover Post
  • Back to School: High school coaches and athletes prepare for the fall sports season

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  • Going back to school is about more than books and homework. It also means home games and homecomings.
    Coaches and players are busy getting ready for the upcoming season. We talked with Caesar Rodney Head Football Coach Mike Schonewolf about the season ahead and what fans can expect.
    The Riders return to the gridiron after a 7-3 season last year that saw them advance to the DIAA State Semifinals before falling to then defending champion Middletown. CR will open the 2014 football season on Friday, September 5 hosting defending champion Salesianum.
    Dover Post: How do you get your team prepared for a new season?
    Caesar Rodney Head Football Coach Mike Schonewolf: The team is different every year and we like to focus on fundamental team concepts to develop a base that we can use to build throughout the season.
     
    DP: What do you see as the biggest challenge ahead for the team this year?
    MS: The schedule is very challenging, highlighted with an opener against the reigning Division I State Champions (Salesianum), followed by the Division I runner-up (Middletown) in week two and Division II Champions (Hodgson Vo-Tech) in week three. We will need to develop quickly to be ready and will need to continue improving as the season moves into conference play.  
     
    DP: Any new changes in players, strategy?
    MS: We always take the abilities of our players and mold what we do strategically to their talents.
     
    DP: How do you motivate your student athletes to achieve both on the field in the classroom?
    MS: Our student-athletes are developing American citizens and we work hard to help them understand the importance of learning the skills that will help them be productive members of our society. They want to be dependable adults and have always responded positively.
     
    We spoke with returning senior running back/linebacker for the Riders, Fito Louis about how he prepares for the season and what he’s looking forward to this year.
    Dover Post: What’s the hardest thing about preparing for a new season?
    Fito Louis: The hardest part is working with some of the newcomers, as seniors we have to step up and tell them what to do.  It’s pretty hard to get the newcomers going sometimes since the first practice is just a lot of talking.
     
    Page 2 of 3 - DP: What do you want to accomplish this year besides winning?
    FL: This year I’m hoping to make all-conference and all-state, that’s been the goal for me since last year, really hoping to reach it this year.
     
    DP: What do you look forward to the most at the start of a new sports season?
    FL: The first day is always exciting, I like to take a good look at some of the new guys and see what they have. So far I like what we’ve shown; I think we have a pretty good team here.
     
     
     
    For another perspective, we spoke with first-year Dover Volleyball Head Coach Jennifer Wilson about how the team is preparing for the 2014 season.
    The Lady Senators are coming off a 7-8 season in 2013, and enter a new season, a new school, and new facilities in 2014 hoping to make some noise in the Henlopen Conference. Dover opens their season on Wednesday, September 10 at the Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security.
    Dover Post: How do you get your team prepared for a new season?
    Dover Volleyball Head Coach Jenn Wilson: When it comes to preparing my team for a new season, I initially focus on team building and individual player development in order to shape the athletes into members of a group who work hard together while highlighting the importance of each member and their impact on that unified whole.
     
    DP: What do you see as the biggest challenge ahead for the team this year?
    JW: Dover High School Volleyball has been in a safe place off the radar the last few years and it is our goal to change that. We want to bring positive attention and recognition to the great athletes that are a part of the program through competitive success against some of the better teams in Delaware.
     
    DP: Any new changes in players, strategy?
    JW: Changes are going to be taking place in every aspect of Senator Volleyball this year. For one, the entire coaching staff is brand new to Dover High’s Volleyball Program. We also have a brand new, state-of-the-art facility to practice and compete within, not to mention a new sense of pride that comes with that building and being able to be the first athletic team to play on that gym floor. Changes will be inevitable with the philosophy Coach Woodard and I are bringing in.
     
    DP:  How do you motivate your student athletes to achieve both on the field in the classroom?
    Page 3 of 3 - JW: I try to motivate the ladies both on the court and within the classroom by encouraging them to challenge themselves. I try to coach in a way that instills drive and passion for success. I really push the girls to get better at whatever it is they are a part of, no matter if its volleyball, a club, or a course in school, and to never get complacent.
     
    We spoke with Dover returning senior Deborah Spottswood about preparing for the new season, as well as team and individual goals.
    Dover Post: What’s the hardest thing about preparing for a new season?
    Deborah Spottswood: Getting back in shape would be the hardest thing and working with different people because you never know whose going to come out for the team each year.
     
    DP: What do you want to accomplish this year besides winning?
    DS: As a team, become closer and make all of these years together worth it. We’re trying to accomplish some things this year that we haven’t. We hope to mesh as a team, we haven’t really had that, and we have a new coach so it’s going to be a different atmosphere.
    DP: What do you look forward to the most at the start of a new sports season?
    DS: It’s my senior year, and I’m hoping to go out with a bang and have fun that’s the most important thing.

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